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One News Now

Court of Appeals Says Rowan County Prayer Practice is Unconstitutional

By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
July 14, 2017

RICHMOND, VA. – Friday, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rowan County Commissioners’ prayer practice before meetings is unconstitutional.

In the case Lund v. Rowan County, Nan Lund, Robert Voelker and Lisa Montag–Siegel, had filed a complaint against the commissioners, arguing the prayer practice was “coercive” – forcing those present to conform to the faith of the commissioners.

A Fourth Circuit three judge panel by a decision of 2-1 overturned a previous ruling by U.S. District Judge James Beaty in September of last year. Beatty had concluded that the method of elected officials praying sectarian prayers (prayers that reference Christianity or made in ‘Jesus’ name) failed to be nondiscriminatory. He said it entangled government with religion, and “over time establishes a pattern of prayers that tends to advance the Christian faith at the expense of any religious affiliation unrepresented by the majority.” Read the rest of this entry »

Governor Cooper Vetoes Casino-Style Game Nights Bill, CAL Director Says He Should Be Commended

By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
July 14, 2017

RALEIGH – Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed legislation that would have allowed nonprofits to host casino-style game nights as fundraisers.

Unless the Governor’s veto is sustained the legislation could prove to be a significant expansion for gambling interests in the state.

In a statement released to the Press the Governor said:

“I am not opposed to legitimate nonprofits holding an occasional ‘game night’ to help with donations to worthy causes. However, I believe this legislation as written could cause unintended problems. North Carolina law enforcement has fought for years against the for-profit video poker industry, and legitimizing charitable gambling in this way could give video poker a way to infiltrate our communities. Allowing the industry to masquerade as a charity could cause unintended permits to be issued, and without tough criminal penalties enforcement would be difficult.” Read the rest of this entry »

Critical Facts Churches Need to Know About the Consideration and Approval of Brunch Ordinances

By L.A. Williams and Rev. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
July 13, 2017

Since the passage of the Brunch Bill numerous communities have already approved brunch ordinances or scheduled to take them up for consideration.

According to the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, as of Tuesday (July 11), as many as 16 cities, towns, or counties were considering them, while six cities and towns had already adopted them.

The new law, dubbed by the media as the Brunch Bill, which Governor Cooper signed on June 30th, authorizes county commissioners and city councils to allow bars, hotels, private clubs and restaurants to roll back the time for alcohol sales from 12:00 noon to 10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The measure also expands the hours of sale for retail sales of beer and wine in convenience and grocery stores. But before this can happen, local governing bodies have to pass an ordinance that allows for it.

Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, recently admonished, “If the churches have anything to say concerning America’s number one drug problem which is alcohol, if they are concerned about its widespread use in their communities and the inevitable negative consequences it will bring, then they had better start saying it. The question of earlier alcohol sales on Sundays is likely to be coming sooner than later.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mecklenburg County Commissioners Receive Sobering Email from CAL Director about their Brunch Ordinance

By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
July 14, 2017

Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted unanimously to pass a brunch ordinance Tuesday evening. The ordinance affects the unincorporated areas of the county, which Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour told the Charlotte Observer is a large area.

Last month the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Brunch Bill and Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure into law on June 30th. The new law allows for alcohol sales to begin earlier on Sundays, rolling back the time from 12:00 noon to 10:00 a.m. But local governing authorities have to first opt-into the expansion of alcohol sales by passing a local ordinance authorizing it.

The Charlotte Observer also reported that after the vote was taken commissioners joked about the matter saying, “See you all for Bloody Marys on Sunday.” Read the rest of this entry »

League’s Lobbying Efforts Curb Harms in Alcohol Legislation, ‘The Brunch Bill’

By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
July 10, 2017

RALEIGH – “Sometimes a measure has momentum. It’s popular from the moment it’s introduced,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Although you fight to defeat the bill in its entirety, you find it a losing battle, and, thus, you can only hope to minimize the harms you know it will bring.”

These words by Dr. Creech were made in reference to two alcohol bills, HB 500 – ABC Omnibus Legislation and SB 155 – Economic and Job Growth for Distilleries. Both bills were ultimately rolled into one measure, SB 155 – ABC Omnibus Legislation, which the Press dubbed as “The Brunch Bill.”

SB 155 significantly loosened the state’s alcohol control laws, rolling back the time for alcohol sales on Sundays from 12:00 noon to 10:00 a.m., and making it possible for breweries and distilleries in the state to expand their business at the expense of the public’s health and safety.
Read the rest of this entry »

Not Enough Hours in the Day

By Dr. Mark Creech
Executive Director
Christian Action League
July 7, 2017

Do you ever feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day?  That’s the way I’ve been feeling lately.

Let me tell you about something that happened to me and my wife, Kim.

We’ve been displaced from our home for about six weeks. We had a hot-water heater incident that dumped gallons of water onto the floors of our house, ruining every floor except one back bedroom. The floors are currently being replaced and the Insurance Company has put us up in an apartment in Wilson, which is not far from where we live.

Such a project is monumental.  Our insurance is taking care of most of the expenses, but it’s the problems you meet along the way that can really cost you in time and money. This is what Kim and I have been working on all week together. Read the rest of this entry »

Long Session Had Some ‘Good Things,’ But Also ‘Disappointing and Deeply Disturbing’

By Dr. Mark Creech, Executive Director
Christian Action League
June 30, 2017

It’s been a grueling week at the North Carolina General Assembly. Lawmakers wrapped up most of their legislative agenda for the 2017 Long Session in the early morning hours on Friday. They worked long hours each day, often late into the night, and the Christian Action League lobbied them each step of the way.

So intense has been the pace that there hasn’t been sufficient time to provide you with separate stories on each bill of concern as we normally do. However, we’ll try to get you caught up as soon as possible.

Just let me say this much: It’s been a session of highs and lows. Read the rest of this entry »

North Carolina Magistrates Don’t Have to Perform Gay Weddings, US Appeals Court Rules

by Samuel Smith
Christian Post
June 30, 2017

A federal appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a North Carolina law that grants religious freedom exemptions to government officials who refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies on grounds that it would violate their religious beliefs.

In June 2015, lawmakers in North Carolina overrode former Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto and enacted a law that protected magistrates who feel it would violate their religious beliefs to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies by giving them the option to recuse themselves from participating in any marriage ceremony for a six-month period. The law came after a federal court struck down the state’s ban against same-sex marriage in 2014.

If there isn’t a magistrate in a county willing to perform same-sex marriages, the law, known as SB 2, calls for a willing magistrate in another county to be brought in to conduct marriages. Read the rest of this entry

Supreme Court to Hear Gay Wedding Cake Case from Colorado Christian Baker

By Michael Gryboski
Christian Post
June 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Colorado baker who was punished by the state for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage celebration will get to argue his case before the United States Supreme Court.

The high court decided on Monday to grant an appeal in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, setting the stage for a major legal struggle on the question of religious liberty and LGBT rights.

In 2012, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc. refused to make a same-sex wedding cake due to it violating his sincerely held religious beliefs.

In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found him guilty of discrimination, claiming that he violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA. Read the rest of this entry

States Can’t Discriminate Against Churches in Secular Aid Programs, Supreme Court Rules

By Michael Gryboski
Christian Post
June 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a Missouri church should not be prohibited from benefiting from a secular aid program solely because it is a church.

In a decision released Monday morning in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the highest court in the nation concluded that Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia should not be barred from a state program meant to help repair their daycare playground, reversing a lower court decision.

The majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, who was joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas joined the majority in part. Justice Stephen Breyer authored a concurring opinion, while Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

“… the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts.  Read the rest of this entry